Like pretty much every other 20 to 30-something male, I’m a huge fan of Rick and Morty. The show just has this mystique about it. It hits all the right notes in terms of comedy, pop culture, sci fi, and everything else I’ve loved over the last few decades. So, heading to PAX West 2016 it was my goal to try out the recently announced Rick and Morty VR game, Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality.
When I finally accomplished my goal, what I found was a pitch perfect adaptation of the show, with writing that fits right in with what you’d expect out of the series. Speaking with the developer behind the game, Owlchemy Labs, that was apparently a huge compliment as they’re handling the writing themselves, with input from series co-creator and star Justin Roiland.
From even the first moments of Rick and Morty VR you can see and feel the love for the series that has been slavishly applied to every aspect of the game. Opening your eyes within Rick’s iconic garage/laboratory, you find out that you are an experimental clone of Morty. You quickly perform some meager task, and are then shot and killed by Rick. Awakening in a dark room with a ringing phone, you find yourself in purgatory, but you aren’t there long as you awaken again as another clone, with all of Rick’s toys and gadgets to mess with. So typical Rick and Morty stuff so far.
The demo is a “vertical slice” of the game, not really offering any specifics about the story or how the actual missions will play out. Instead players are free to roam and explore the garage, messing with whatever they find. Here they’ll find a plumbus, a ray gun, and the very important Meeseeks box. Eventually Rick gives you some more specific task, and you begin having to work out some very interesting VR puzzles. With a license like this the developer could have just slapped the IP onto a bare bones experience, but they seem to really be working toward having good gameplay along with the hilarious writing.
For those who’ve been following VR, the game plays a lot like Job Simulator, which sort of makes sense, coming from the same developer and all. Taking that game’s extremely solid mechanics and applying it to the Rick and Morty universe works exceedingly well, and offers a wide range of possibilities for Rick and Morty style locations and objectives. So far they’ve only shown off the garage location, but expect more to show up, either from the show or original creations, in the final game.
For the garage, the area is split into separate zones. Players can move freely within the zones via room scale VR, and can teleport between them freely. This setup requires more movement on the players part, and really pushes the features that some might take for granted. And with Job Simulator as its base, you know you can just pick up anything and everything and interact with it in fun new ways. I don’t know why it’s so much fun to grab a bottle of wine, pour it into a glass, then toss the glass across the room, but it all works just as well here as its predecessor.
Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality was definitely one of the highlights of PAX West 2016, giving players a cool new VR game and a fantastic adaptation of probably the best animated show on TV right now. Even with all of this going for it, the game could have still crashed and burned if it felt like a cheap cash-in on the show’s success. Thankfully that is nowhere near the case, with the game revealing a level of love and devotion to the source material that is rarely seen in video game adaptations. We’ll have to see if this holds up for the final product, but Rick and Morty VR has secured its place on my to-watch list.